Around this time last year, I accidentally got really involved in US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’s unprecedentedly large texting program. When he suspended his campaign, 30,000 volunteers had sent 259 million texts, and among them were tens of volunteers, including me, who’d been spending tens of hours a week to help run the program: making materials, training new texters, answering questions on Slack in real time, double checking texts on the backend. And on that day in April, all of those people suddenly had a lot more free time.
We’re scattered around the country, and a couple of us around the world, so we made a new Slack to keep in touch. Maybe another year it would have been different, maybe we’d each have gravitated back to lunch with our coworkers, or canvassing door to door, or huddling around our friends’ kitchen island, our hands clasped around warm drinks as they make us dinner. But this wasn’t another year, and we have been weathering the storm, in part, by shooting the shit all day, every day. We know everyone’s pets’ names, and their toddlers’ current weather-related obsessions. We’ve seen their wedding photos. We know whose high school mascot was a tractor. We know which family members everyone is most worried about catching COVID-19: which of their siblings are teachers being forced to come in to work, and which of their partners have asthma. We know how to be there. We know our rage. We know things about each other too personal for me to cutely allude to now.
I know for sure, because of them, that a better world is possible. The ability to even begin to imagine that feels like a gift, and the thought of, one day, being huddled around the same kitchen island with the people who gave me that gift floods me with so much love and hope I want to cry. And until then I hope we never, and I do mean never, log off.
Bette(r) Days celebrates the things that did not suck in 2020. Each day in December, we’ll be posting about the highlights of our collective garbage fire of a year, type-related or not.